The question posed in the title is an important one for every individual, whether he or she is a do-it-yourself homeowner or a professional who wants to deliver the results that clients want and deserve. How can you get the information you need to make a decision on how much to invest in paint? Can you be sure that you’re using the “best” paint when you pay a lot more for one brand as compared to another?
Before getting into details about what makes a paint “good” and what makes a paint “great,” it might be best to make an important point. Veterans of the commercial painting world firmly believe that a paint brand can get a bad reputation because the person using it does a poor job of preparing the surface. This is a subject for another time. But you should spend as much time on surface preparation as you do on any other part of the process.
Solids content is one of the main reasons for high prices on some paints. Every paint is composed of a liquid such as water or alkyd. The other two main ingredients are pigment and binder. The paint dries as the liquid (solvent) evaporates, leaving the other two ingredients. These last two are the solids, with the binder holding the pigment together.
As you can probably guess, if a paint has more pigment and binder, it will protect the surface better and hide imperfections. If you’re paying a higher price, you should be getting more solids since the only other ingredient is water or the evaporating solvent. One place where you may want to spend a bit more on paint for this reason is painting interior walls when you have children and/or pets who could lead you to wash the walls on a regular basis. If you don’t anticipate wall cleaning because of children and pets, you can save a bit of money with a less-expensive paint.
You may also want to spend a bit more for that extra solids content if you’re covering a strong color and you don’t want to paint two or three coats to get the job done. In this case, you may save money by using one coat of a better paint. You’ll also save a lot of time, of course.
Most experienced painters will save their project money on ceiling paint. A medium-priced flat white should do the job well without emptying your bank account in the process. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you should spend more for outstanding paint when you’re painting exterior surfaces. You’ll actually save money in the long run because you won’t have to repaint as often. It’s as simple as that. Better paints extend the life of your coat of paint.
It’s also the belief of many professionals that you should use a separate paint for the prime coat and another for the finish coat. If you do try a paint and primer in one and it covers well, it’s probably because of the higher solids content.
As a homeowner, it is sometimes necessary to redecorate and refurbish. This not only keeps the home feeling fresh but it also adds value if you should ever decide to put it on the market. Of course, one of the best ways to freshen up a tired-looking home is with a few coats of paint.
Over time, the walls and doors get scuffed, marked, and scratched up. A coat of paint hides a myriad of small details such as these and can make the home feel almost new again. In many ways, painting a home is a great way to get the “new home” feel without actually investing the money into a new home. It’s also a very affordable way to redecorate.
Do it Yourself or Hire a Professional?
Plenty of homeowners like to do their own home refurbishments but there are challenges involved that they may not entirely anticipate. For example, painting may seem to be one of the easiest home renovations and it may be tempting to save the money, but a bad painting job is very noticeable indeed and can even reduce the value of your home. This is why hiring a professional painting contractor is recommended.
A professional painter generally has plenty of years of experience under his or her belt. This means that he or she can deal with any unforeseen problems and even make recommendations. It also means that he or she knows how to do a professional job and won’t simply rush it. Many homeowners who are inexperienced painters tend to do a poor job when it comes to the final finish.
Of course, once you have decided to hire a professional, how do you know who will do a good job? The last thing that you want to do is pay money for a substandard painting job so how can you really know who will do the best work for you?
What to Look for in a Professional Painter
There are always plenty of sole traders offering cheap paint jobs in the local paper or online but it’s not always a good idea to hire someone just because he or she is cheap. Often, the best jobs are done by those who value their own work and charge appropriately for it. That being said, here are some other tips on how to find the best painter for making your home look great:
- Ask Around: If you’re in the market for a painter, why not ask your friends and family? You might even know someone who has recently had his or her home repainted. Lots of people forget to ask around but word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertising that there is.
- Quoting: Before even getting started, a professional painter should evaluate what he or she needs to do, talk to you about your needs, and actually provide an obligation-free quote once he or she has looked around your home. Someone who fails to do this is likely not worth bothering with.
- Communication: The crux of any good business is communication and this is no different when it comes to painting contractors. A professional painter should be able to offer advice and talk to you openly about the job, the requirements, and how long he or she expects that it will take.
Painting your home can really add some life and vibrancy to it but rather than do it yourself, why not hire a professional painter? The best ones will give you the finish that you want and treat you professionally.